NEW BERN, N.C. – A federal jury convicted a Norfolk, Virginia man Friday on charges of visa fraud related to a sham marriage and other immigration crimes along with trying to obstruct the testimony of a witness in an official proceeding.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Joshua Kwame Asane, 46, a citizen of Ghana, was indicted on July 22, 2020, for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, marriage fraud, visa fraud, false statements in immigration proceedings, and tampering with a witness.
Evidence presented at the trial revealed that the marriage between Asane and a U.S. soldier stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was arranged by Asane’s brother (Ebenezer Asane, who was previously indicted for conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, has plead guilty and is awaiting sentencing). Asane and the soldier were married in Cumberland County, North Carolina.
Thereafter, Asane and the soldier submitted fraudulent applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting Asane’s adjustment of status as a lawful permanent resident in the United States. Asane and the soldier were interviewed at the USCIS office in Norfolk, Virginia. Both attested under oath they were married in good faith. As a result of the interview, USCIS found indicators of fraud, and referred the case to USCIS, Fraud Detection and National Security, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for investigation.
In a split decision the jury found Asane guilty of visa fraud, false statements in immigration proceedings, and tampering with a witness, and not guilty of conspiracy and marriage fraud.
Asane faces maximum penalties of twenty-five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for his convictions of visa fraud, false statements in immigration proceedings, and witness tampering when scheduled for sentencing for the term of court commencing on September 7, 2021.
G. Norman Acker, III, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan accepted the verdict. The case was investigated by the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) in the Eastern District of North Carolina led by Homeland Security Investigations and assisted by US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel J. Diaz is prosecuting the case.
Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No.5:20-CR-00349-FL-1 & 5:19-CR-423-1FL.